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What Skills Do You Need to Be a Nursery Teacher?

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Nursery teachers supervise and provide care for infants and toddlers. They work in childcare facilities and care for more than one child at a time. They may work with a co-teacher to help them provide adequate care for all the children in their care. They have unique qualities that help them perform well in their jobs. They may have less than a high school education, or they may have significant education in early childhood development. Their backgrounds are usually different, but they share a common bond in truly enjoying taking care of small children.

Special Care

Nursery teachers give a special kind of care to children. Small children require extra nurturing and attention, and nursery teachers must be able to provide that care in an often very-hectic professional work environment. They have a desire to provide the best care possible to each child in their care, and they spend a significant amount of time hugging, holding, singing and playing with children under the 3 years old.


Nursery teachers should be calm at all times. The noise of screaming toddlers and infants under teachers’ feet for eight hours a day is extremely stressful sometimes. When a child is hurt, they must also be able to think quickly and provide proper first aid without overreacting, which can cause the other children to become upset. They project an air of calmness and confidence in themselves and their ability to care for young children. Nursery workers should also have physical and emotional stamina to handle working in a nursery.


Small children and infants need constant supervision as they explore their worlds. Nursery teachers must be aware at all times of what each child is doing. They must also be able to be attentive to each child even when they are changing diapers or feeding one child. They also provide equal attention to each child in the room, encouraging their growth and development.

Learning Environment

Nursery teachers must also provide a stimulating learning environment for the children in their care. Children’s brains develop synapses between their nerve at an amazing rate when they are very young. Singing, talking, touching and holding young children all have permanent impacts on their lives. Nursery teachers truly do make a difference in the lives of children when they sing to them, hold them, play games with them and otherwise encourage their emotional, physical, social and intellectual development.


Some employers require nursery teachers to have some postsecondary training in early childhood development. They may require a child development associate degree or a certain number of college hours in early childhood development or education. Other employers will require only that nursery teachers undergo their training programs. Some may require a high school education, and others may not require one. Publicly-funded employers typically require more education of their teachers.


Leyla Norman has been a writer since 2008 and is a certified English as a second language teacher. She also has a master's degree in development studies and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology.